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NEW DELHI(PTI): India does not think that the US Senate rejecting a key amendment recognising the country as “global strategic and defence partner” is a setback.
The Congress-led Opposition mounted an attack on the government for this development following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit. However, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said it was too early for any conclusion as legislative process in the US Congress was a long one. Swarup said, “The US had recognised India as a ‘major defence partner’ in a joint statement issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit there last week.”
The preparation of National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA-17) by the US Congress was a process distinct from the decision of the US Government to recognise India as a major defence partner. Two days ago, Republican senator John McCain had moved an amendment to the Act, which if passed would have recognised India as a global strategic and defence partner. It could not get the nod of the Senate, mainly because of procedural and internal petty political issues, according to McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
New Delhi’s position is that these legislative moves are not linked with the recent joint India-US statement of June 7 following the PM’s visit.
Swarup said the preparation of NDAA in the US Congress involves approval of different versions in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and their reconciliation to evolve a single consensual text, which is again put to vote in both chambers. “The 2017 NDAA is in the process of its formulation and it would be premature to speculate about its final content,” he said .
“A number of Senators and Congressmen have moved proposals that only seek to reinforce this decision of the US Government .